Framing of a romance start - wording/inclusion

So I’m about to write up my first choice that begins a relationship, and I’m hesitating over how exactly to frame things.

I want to use a [Start character romance] tag because I think it’s useful to be explicit. However, I’ve also given options for the MC to be aromantic, with a range of interest levels in physical intimacy.

I don’t want to imply that you are automatically starting a romantic relationship, as there’s the possibility of this being intimate only. However, when I started writing different options for the varying levels of aro, they felt really clumsy and I got the feeling that it’d probably be a lot more elegant to have MC explaining this within the first option (at least for characters who are on some level into physical intimacy)

Just generally wondering what folks’ thoughts on this is. Maybe I’m too in my own head.


I don’t have a quick answer for this because I’ve been wrestling with this myself. I don’t love “more than friends” because of the implication that non-romantic is less-than-romance, but I’ve used dialogue saying “something other than friendship” before; that might work, though it’s formal which won’t fit for every setting/characterisation. There’s something like having the PC say “I want to get closer to you” or “I don’t do romance, but I want to be closer with you/go on a date/do [something physical] with you”. Or since you’re writing in a modern setting, you could simply have the PC be able to say “I’m aro and I’d like to take you out to lunch/go to the movies/have a charged rooftop duel sometime”. I haven’t been able to come up with an easy tag like [Start Romance].

Oh, there’s also symbols? (It’s not really my thing for text games because I find them hard to remember, but some people like them.) So one symbol for romance and one for an aromantic relationship?

Sometimes granular relationship definitions make my head spin a bit and I end up needing to remind myself that romantic/non-romantic isn’t always a strict binary anyway :sweat_smile: The context and character involved may help with framing it.


This is helpful, including for unpicking the more than friends type of wording. (I’ve put MC realising something’s up as “may not be entirely platonic”).

I suppose I’m comfortable with what will come out of the PC’s mouth, the in character part is totally fine with me - maybe what I need to do is put the choices as dialogue instead of prose!

Edit: Putting down a placeholder so I can not get stuck too hard, I’ve used a multireplace to have the option tagged as [Start @{(aro =1) Romance|Aromantic Relationship}] which is somehow growing on me a little, cumbersome as it is.

(yes aro = 1 means not aro in this context >_>)


I’d be happy with this while playing an aro MC :slight_smile: I think it’d be even clearer (to me) if it was along the lines of “[something-something, as i stare deep into the RO’s soul or whatever] I realize something’s changed. It doesn’t feel romantic… but it may not be entirely platonic.”


I imagine a simple solution would be to use icons: have one for “romantic relationship”, one for “aromantic relationship” and if the option enables both routes then mark it with both of them? (or just relevant one for other options which only have singular effect)

The way i saw to deal with it which i liked was “Sonar mode” in Aura Clash which can be activated in the settings and replaces symbols/icons with plain text. This allows things to remain compact for people who don’t rely on screen readers, while allowing the readers to handle things properly.

Appreciate this! I might well go with something along these lines in future too!

Symbols are neat and I do personally get along with them in my reading. The problem I get is that I know some people use screen readers or similar and that those often don’t react well to symbols.

It’s the same reason I wound up putting tone indicators as an on/off toggle that marks options with [Flirt] or [Flirt, passive]